When you have been injured because of a product, a number of factors are taken into consideration to determine if your case has merit. Laws vary state to state, but in general, you have to meet certain criteria to have a valid personal injury case because of an injury caused from a product. If you believe that you have been injured because of a defective product, it's time to sit down with a qualified personal injury attorney and talk about the facts in your case.
An Injury or Loss of Money Must Have Occurred: The First Step in a Product Liability Lawsuit
Even if you have identified that a product you are using is defective, if you have not sustained an injury or you haven't lost time from work, you don't have a personal injury case. While it may be upsetting to learn, for example, that a child car seat you were using for your child is defective, if there is no injury then there is no lawsuit to file. Personal injury lawsuits are compensated monetarily, and if you have been hurt or lost time from work, you have met the first parameter for a lawsuit.
The Product Has to be Defective
If you were using a product as intended, yet you or your child were injured, it's possible you have a product liability case to file. In the example of a child car seat, if the seat did not work properly during regular use, it could be defective. While you may not be able to prove a defective car seat, you may be able to prove that the design of the car seat itself is dangerous to the young children sitting in it. If you were not warned about the dangers of the product you were using, this could also mean you have a viable case.
You Must Show the Defective Product is the Cause of Your Injuries
You may have a defective product on your hands, and you may have an injury, but to prove product liability you must show that these two events are connected. If a child car seat malfunctions, causing a child to fly out of the seat in an accident, it's easy to prove causality. On the other hand, if you use a product that you believe caused your injuries but you have no visible proof, it will be harder to win your case.
You Must Have Been Using the Product Properly
With any product on the market today, you have to follow the directions on how to use it. In an easy example, say you are prescribed pain killers for a headache. Your head really hurts and you decide to take four pills instead of one. This extra dose causes you to get dizzy, fall down the stairs and break a leg. While the medication may be directly linked to your accident, you were not using the product as prescribed and you do not have a product liability case to file.